Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Frontier Farms is a certified organic farm in Northern Michigan and is a testament to the aspirations of individuals coming together to support human and planet health. Make no mistake, the passion, purpose and journey of these farmers is, indeed, unique and compelling. It is also ever evolving and impacting far beyond their farm borders.
Laurie Hunter, who is co-owner, partner, greenhouse manager, marketer, and general organizer showed up on our virtual doorstep in February of 2021, as a GFC member. Since then, we have followed Frontier Farms in Whittemore, Michigan.
What becomes instantly apparent when following this farm is the relentless list of accomplishments providing healthier and more diverse product selections for their customers while improving the health of their soils, animals and farm footprint. They actively use their social media pages to engage visitors in those benchmarks. Customers and their community are regularly welcomed to a glimpse of the farm plantings, harvests, availability and their overall farm lives through their generous Facebook and Instagram accounts. The result is a more engaged community and customers for obvious reasons. Check out this recent post to understand why.
Frontier Farms Facebook Post Below - August 9, 2021. Frontier Farms
"The power of beneficial bugs and corridors of life!
This flower is a great example of the diversity in our gardens. Each of our garden plots contain one row of herbs and flowers to create habitat for beneficial insects. Creating these corridors of life that harbor both the friends and foes of the garden can be a scary prospect. Giving up productive ground to create these permanent strips is a bit daunting, but the benefit outweighs the cost.
Everyday we encounter snakes who have been hunting the gardens (garter snakes and red bellied snakes) frogs, toads and a multitude of bugs. We have found praying manti, soldier beetles, tiger beetles, lacewings, beneficial wasps, thousands of lady bugs, spiders of all kinds, and of course all of the beautiful bees and butterflies.
It’s a really wonderful thing to see all of this life in action. When we first started our farm- the fields had been tilled and sprayed and were devoid of life. The transition was a bit scary and it has taken several years for nature to return- but we are starting to see the magic. To walk the garden and see the damaging potato beetle larvae get killed of by beneficial insects is a powerful thing. To see the parasitic wasps and birds hunting insects that are considered pests is humbling. Nature is tirelessly at work. Both day and night, Mother Nature does her job without the need for chemicals or sprays."
GFC: In your own words, what makes your business and what you do unique?
Laurie: We focus on working with the environment and building soil health. Much of our land is fallow or planted in wildlife habitat to benefit the creatures around us. We are the only certified organic farm in our region.
By making real food available to an under-served area that is free of chemicals. We are working on a food supply that is more local and sustainable.
Currently we have been collaborating with our producers to support local business and community and make a wider range of products available. We are also engaged in educational outreach.
The farm practices distinguish the farm, but also the food in terms of taste, health and impact on the environment. The nuances of Frontier Farm's practices are significant and stated for our customers, please don't miss it here.
As for products, one of our unique offerings at the farm stand and for the CSA customers are Duck Eggs. The farm feeds its ducks an organic whole grain mixture and provides them free range and an opportunity to forage. The eggs produced have superior flavor and a deep flavorful yolk high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, as well as vitamin D. CSA members are offered an add-on to their farm shares to include the eggs.
GFC: Why do you appear to have so much variety on your farm?
Laurie: We grow variety for many reasons. Our market CSA is a 20 week program and we want to offer a seasonal selection of produce to our members. Plus we grow for ourselves and to solve the dilemma of living in a food desert with very little access to organic food. We do store, freeze or can much for ourselves to get through the winter months. Our variety also allows us to do a complete crop rotation on our plots to benefit soil health and soil fertility issues when using organic inputs.
GFC: What drives you to do what you do?
Laurie: We love what we do! We wanted to grow in a way that benefits the environment and allows us to eat delicious, healthy organic foods. All three of us have a passion for plants and gardening. We have been humbled and delighted by the response to us becoming certified organic from our customers and neighbors.
Collaborations: Frontier Farms offers its products to another of our members, Owens Custom Catering through their CSA Share Program. Frontier Farm's market vendor stand is also co-located with the Owens Catering at the Northeast Michigan Regional Farmers Market (Tawas). This is a small, but significant step to optimizing natural health by optimizing its supply chain. The farm displays its products, while Owens Custom Catering features value added meals utilizing Frontier Farms ingredients. It is this kind of linkage that affords a stronger integrated health and food chain. Others are encouraged to connect including health practitioners, chefs, restaurants, retailers, authors and more. Reach out at the links provided. Visit the market. Follow the social media platforms and engage.
Laurie Hunter, Co-Owner, Partner, Greenhouse Manager, Marketer and General Organizer Frontier Farms
Owens Customs Catering Story - April 2021